So, I was chatting to a couple of my Twitter friends, including the brains behind Zebra Sounds (what do you mean you’re not already a regular reader?! Get over there! But please come back here…).

In conversation, the topic of being shy/starstruck around people came up, and I mentioned the fact that for the first two thirds of my life, I was completely unable to talk coherently to any girl/woman I was even remotely attracted to.

If I liked someone, rather than speak to her I’d freeze, blush furiously, go weak at the knees, and either not speak or kinda mumble my way through.

I was also socially awkward, comfortable in my circle of friends but otherwise felt like I didn’t fit in and wanted desperately to be one of the popular people.

Those who’ve known me since high school remember all too well wasted days and nights spent listening to me gushing over my latest crush and agonising over asking them out and never doing it!

All pretty normal stuff for your teenage years of course.

These days, I couldn’t be described as shy, I’m definitely more comfortable in my own skin, I know what my strengths are (and I’m happy to tell you) but I’m also well aware of my flaws and would admit them too.

One response confirmed as much, “And then came Twitter. ;-)”.

But in truth what you see on Twitter/Facebook is pretty much what you get.

In terms of what changed, I’d say several important people in my life have had an effect on me, from my lovely wife to work colleagues, friends and also situations as well.

I actually said as much on Twitter, about how all these people and events had, “…dragged me outta my shell! Don’t think I’d fit back in my shell now…”.

That met with “That’s a wonderful thought… being too big for your old shell.”

And it is a great thought, a great way to chart or visualise personal change/development.

Would you still fit in the metaphorical shell which you once called home?


Things I Learned Today

April 7, 2010

1. Don’t try to reduce painkiller dosage when underlying condition isn’t fixed!! *YELP*

2. Sometimes you’d have preferred a phonecall from work in the wee small hours when the problem first occurred, than have people ignore it til you come in and thousands of people are affected.

3. Not every techie properly tests and communicates important configuration changes.

4. DNS = Do Not Screw-with!

5. DNS = Do Not Screw-with!

6. Debugging in HEX = Headache

7. No, my box is not at fault.

8. No, really!

9. No blame culture = myth

Lately, life seems to be passing me by, or at least I’m struggling to remember it.

Sat watching tv with my better half tonight it occured to me that I couldn’t actually remember most of yesterday.

But then, is that because I didn’t do much of interest? Is that why the days seem to fly by so quickly, because so much of them is routine, on autopilot?

That’s what I hate about winter, dark all the time, weather that doesn’t exactly motivate you to go outside and be active!

Now I’m not exactly the fittest or most active person, but even I’m getting restless!

Time to get back to the gym, get out with my camera and tripod…

In short, I need to DO something!

Anyone else feeling that way too, or is it just me?

Top 5 Annoyances – Take 1

January 22, 2010

I say this is take one, because the list would change every 5 minutes!!!

5. Abuse of the English language, by the English!
“The bin needs emptying” is NOT acceptable!
Even when the newsreaders on the BBC are talking like that.

4. Inconsiderate parking.
No, seriously, block my drive, I didn’t really want to go out…

3. Blocking shopping malls by having a chat with 10 friends in the middle of the mall rather than standing off to the side out of the road.

2. The “entitled” workshy wasters who act like the world owes them when they’ve never done a proper days work in their lives.

1. People who don’t understand that paying for a cinema ticket doesn’t give you free reign to ruin the film for everyone else who bought a ticket by shouting/fighting/kicking the seat in front or deliberately over-reacting to everything you see/hear just to be the centre of attention!!

It’s funny how things can creep up on you.

18 months ago my company was basking in the glory of delivering the largest, riskiest and most technically challenging project in our corporate history.

Within the team where I work, we’d all worked our asses off on it for years and for me personally, it presented great opportunities to develop myself, get noticed, get rewarded, it was basically the highlight of my career and I was on a high.

I had a great manager, the best I’ve ever had, and everything looked rosy.

Then everything changed.

Management reshuffle meant my immediate and senior managers both changed and I’m now managed from 500 miles away.

The platform I look after now has a shelf life, so my plans to look for new challenges and more marketable skills in the future have more focus.

One of our team has moved on to another role, but not just any old colleague, a great friend and mentor.

And now I no longer enjoy working in a team I once loved, in fact I now feel I’m going nowhere fast and that will not change if I stay put.

It’s like the management change and loss of a vibrant colleague killed off the lifeforce of the team and it’s in fatal shock.

So, time to get down to writing a CV (haven’t done one in 12 years!) and going for interviews. Much as I know what I’m good at, I hate this selling and marketing of yourself!

If you told me 18 months ago I’d be feeling this way now, I’d have said you were barking!

But nothing lasts forever and I’ve gone from content to pissed off in just a few short weeks.

Or maybe it was building and it just came to a head?

But now the point of no return has been reached, It’s time to move!

For those of you that don’t know, I am a sufferer of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, more commonly known as ME, M.E, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, ME/CFS, you get the picture!

I have suffered with this condition for over 7 years now, although I consider myself to be very fortunate that whilst it’s not been an easy ride, there are people more seriously affected by it than me.

That said, it’s no fun. To give you a small peek into my world, symptoms include:-
– Joint aches
– Sharp, sometimes debilitating, neuropathic pain all over the body (imagine a burning electric shock through your nerves and you’re starting to get the picture)
– extreme tiredness/fatigue
– light sensitivity
– memory lapses
– concentration problems

The hardest part of it all is that you dont get all of these symptoms all of the time, their intensity varies, as does how quickly they come over you and how quickly they abate.

There is no simple concept of good days and bad days; although you can have good/bad spells lasting days/weeks/months, it’s just as likely that you will go from feeling fine to terrible as quick as clicking your fingers.

I often feel as if I’ve ran into a brick wall, suddenly having no energy, inability to concentrate or remember what I done 5 seconds ago, all coupled with sharp neuropathic pain. It can last 5 minutes or 5 hours, but will surely abate as quckly as it came over me.

Now, ME is intrinsically linked to stress, be it work stress or emotional stress. Many doctors believe it is brought on by extreme stress at a time when your immune system is already extremely low, hence it’s other common name of Post-viral Fatigue Syndrome.

In my case, I started showing symptoms during a period of great stress at work, coupled with a lot of emotional stress and turmoil in my personal life. And I did feel like I had the same cold for a year.

There is a stigma attached to ME, partly because so little is understood about it. The diagnosis itself was one of exception; having tested for and ruled out everything else that could cause my symptoms, it must be ME, but by the way, sorry, we haven’t a clue how to treat it!

And because there’s often nothing to see, people can be dismissive, accuse you of being a hypochondriac etc! Honestly, a broken leg would get more understanding!

Luckily I’ve found that a combination of homoeopathic remedies, avoiding emotional stress, fantastic support from my employer etc have gotten me to a place where most days I can forget that I have it. I do have bad spells, and when that happens I’m not so effective at work as I would otherwise would be, I may have to cancel plans I’ve made and just go to bed, but those who matter most to me understand 🙂

There are many people who are bed ridden by ME, I count myself fortunate not to be in that category.

But I also pat myself on the back for having had a positive and sensible approach to my condition from the outset. I’ve read medical research and understood what scientists are starting to know about the condition, I embrace conventional and complimentary medicine, I allow for downtime when I know I’m going to be doing something physically/mentally/emotionally draining.

In short, I give myself the best possible chance of feeling the best that I possibly can.

And my advice to anyone struggling with any illness is to do exactly that! You may never be fully cured/free of it, but you’ll give yourself a much better life in the long run than if you let your head go down.

A positive attitude is a very powerful medicine 🙂

In my last entry, I touched on what music means to me, and asked you to think of the defining moments in your life and what music you relate to them.

What I neglected to do was answer my own question.

This is neither chronological, nor complete (that’s why this is called the RAMBLING Scotsman blog – Ed).

So, starting off with one both funny and sobering, on the 6th day of this millenium, I had a pretty huge crash in my car, involving car flying into the air and travelling 30ft before landing on the nose!

Remarkably, though a little shaken up, I escaped with a sore neck and a tiny little cut. So what song did my friends jokingly suggest was appropriate? Flying Without Wings by Westlife! (you should check out the culprits’ blog).

Genius, right?! So anytime I hear that song, it reminds me of how lucky I am to be alive, and cheers me right up!

If I want a reminder of the daft carry on I’ve had with my friends, Robbie Williams’ Rock DJ holds special significance (all I’ll say is Podium Dancing…)

Caledonia by Frankie Miller makes me come over all patriotic, proud, and reminds me of nights listening to music in my car with friends on Stirling Castle esplanade, complete with quite simply one of the most gorgeous night views. That view, to me, means home.

Genie In A Bottle by Christina Aguilera reminds me of a looooong night in a garage too afraid to ask out a girl I had a huge crush on.

She’s The One, by Robbie Williams always makes me think of my wife, and smile 🙂

Those that hold sad memories for me, may be subject of another post, when I am in the state of mind to think of those times, but again they are the soundtrack of my life so far and I wouldn’t change it!

One last thing, a good Twitter friend read my first post and told me the song that defines her, as a person, not just a moment in her life.

Now that’s a hard question to answer; my favourite song or band changes frequently as I’ve a very varied taste in music. So how can I pick just one song to define me?

What one song would define YOU?

I was having a discussion about favourite bands with friends on Twitter the other night, which made me think about my relationship with music.

Music means different things to different people; for me it’s something I can’t live without, it makes me feel a whole gamut of emotions and enriches lives, movies, everything it touches.

There’s a scene in one of my favourite movies, Mr Hollands’ Opus, where Richard Dreyfuss’ character explains to his high school music class about Beethoven lying on the floor whilst composing in order to feel the notes he was playing, as he was deaf.

All the while the beautiful yet sombre Beethovens’ 7th Symphony is playing, getting louder and louder and we see the emotion on Glenn Hollands’ face as he struggles with the revelation that his young son is deaf.

It’s one of the most captivating and moving scenes I’ve ever watched, and without the 7th symphony it just would not work, you would not feel what the character is feeling, that’s the power of music.

I associate certain songs, artists, styles of music with different events or stages in my life, memories good and bad.

I can hear a song and be transported back to somewhere in my past, with old friends, I get boosebumps, I get emotional.

For others, music is just background, something entertaining yet quickly forgotten.

For others it’s a distraction, something to dance to, study to and a million other things!

And while I don’t understand how people can be unmoved by music, or why people can like certain artists or musical styles, that’s the beauty of music; because it is personal, subjective and therefore there is something for everyone.

So take a moment to think about the soundtrack to your life, as if it were a movie; what would define the best and worst moments of your life, how did it make you feel?